Last Wednesday the 22nd of March, the UN celebrated the World Water day. Many take drinking water for granted, but there are still 1.8 billion people in the world who use a source of drinking water that puts them at risk of getting deadly sick. In the driest and poorest regions of the world, women and girls walk for hours in the blistering heat to collect water for their families –withholding them from studying or working. Addressing the drinking water crisis of those regions can solve many problems at once.
Tagged: drinking water
We write December 2015, with the new year around the corner. Yet, still 780 million people around the world have no access to clean and safe drinking water. That is 1 out of 9! Since many communities life at or near the shore, the vast amount of seawater nearby plead to be turned into the source of life. Until now various machines have been proposed to take the salt out of seawater. This desalination process happens to be expensive, both money and energy wise.
The best solutions to difficult problems are often found in nature. Same goes for the Rain Maker, the desalination machine that mimics the natural water cycle. It heats seawater until it vaporises. The water vapour is taken into another compartment to be distilled. Then the steam is cooled down and turns into water again. Via a smart design, most of the heat is recuperated.
No membranes or filters are used, making the device able to run on its own for months without human intervention. A machine the size of a small car can make more than 3500 litres of water an hour.
By building small units that can be mass produced, the price is reduced enormously. Depending on the specific needs, more or less Rain Makers can be combined. This makes a desalination machine finally cost effective. Current massive plants are designed case by case and just cost too much money. The builders of Rain Maker even propose to build a ship full of their desalinators. When a coastal area faces a water crisis, the ship rushes to the spot and can start producing clean drinking water straight away and pump it to the shore.
Showcased in Billions in Change documentary
I have showcased quite some extraordinary innovations in the Photo of the Week series so far. Maybe you get the feeling that in order to save the world, we need complicated and expensive technology. But sometimes it are simple things that can have the biggest impact. Brought to the market in 2005, LifeStraw has saved thousands of lives with their innovative product. And it will keep doing so in the future.
Knowing that 1 in 5 deaths of young children is directly related to a water-related disease, the LifeStraw truly deserves its name. It filters out 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9 of waterborne protozoa and has saved thousands of lives since it was invented. It was originally designed for people in developing countries who don’t have water piped in from municipal sources or other access to safe water. It also comes to help in emergency situations following natural disasters when water is contaminated. Backpackers, campers and travelers alike are thankful users as well.
The product shines in its simplicity. The plastic straw contains a filter containing no chemicals whatsoever. It is able to turn 1000 liters of contaminated water into drinking water. No need for electricity, batteries or replacement parts. In fact, it’s such a simple product that chances are low that it will ever break down. No surprise it got Time Magazine’s award for best invention of the year in 2005.
After the successful introduction of the original LifeStraw, inventor Vestergaard came up with other variants. The lifestraw family can support a household and the LifeStraw Community was designed as a high-volume filter for schools and clinics with a lack of safe drinking water.
Are you a fervent hiker, backpacker or camper? Do consider buying a LifeStraw. For each straw sold in the Western world, the Follow the Litres campaign will provide clean drinking water to an African child for a whole school year. It will not only save you some nasty travel sickness, but also others’ lives.
Some US states consider a new way of generating clean energy: harvesting power from water flow in drinking water pipes. The city of Portland already took the step and installed a pipe system equipped with turbines generating energy to power street lights and buildings. This system only works in places where water flows naturally because of height difference. In this occasion it offers some advantages over typical solar or wind installations. First of all it’s not directly dependent on weather elements. Secondly the pipes are equipped with sensors to keep an eye on water quality and pressure. Water contamination or leaks can be detected much earlier, resulting in a smaller loss of water. Last but not least the installation doesn’t form any danger for water animals, a major problems with hydro power from dams – since there is no fish swimming around in the pipes.